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Friday, March 12, 2010

A COUNTRY ROAD, A TREE


A Country Road. A Tree. by Jet Pascua
March 17, 2010, Wednesday
6-9 pm

It’s been three years since Jet Pascua's last solo exhibition in Manila. This March, he returns to the Philippine art scene, armed with perspectives enriched by global experiences - from his Fine Arts education and residency in Norway, to his numerous exhibitions in Oslo, Berlin, and his adopted hometown of Tromsø.

On his return, Pascua zeroes in on drawings, choosing to momentarily set aside his characteristic video and performance art. For his latest work, entitled A Country Road. A Tree, Pascua’s graphite drawings on wood (some of which with acrylic paint to ‘color’ the image), meets the classic play, Waiting for Godot.

Pascua’s drawings absorb the atmosphere of the play’s opening scene where two men wait at a country road, at a tree for someone called Godot. Unsure of everything else except the road with a tree, the two men wait mindlessly, endlessly. Like Samuel Beckett’s play, Pascua’s exhibit is about repetition and question. A Country Road. A Tree. finds thematic symmetry with the two men’s decision to pass time by making nothing as something that needs to be done; thus finding themselves in a world that repeats itself.

Pascua explains drawing as a kind of performance, “repeating a certain movement, a stroke, hundreds or thousands of times until a desired outcome is achieved”. Turning nothing (strokes) into something (image), however controlled, is also filled with questions of whether the cycle has an end. Does it end because the act has been achieved and the point made, or does it end because “ I am too tired to continue”, Pascua wonders.

Pascua’s life too mirrors this repetitive theme. Despite having lived in Norway for six years now, Pascua feels he is still on a journey, caught in a “virtual space of being neither here nor there”, still waiting to arrive at a supposed destination. And as if waiting for Godot himself, he wonders if he is “waiting for something that may not even come”. So while he waits, Pascua comes back to Manila, where his journey began, armed with his art- his country road, his tree – hoping that these are markers of his way forward.


Words: Bea Davila, Image: Jet Pascua, Yesterday. Same Place., 2010

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